|Taber Estes Bankruptcy Attorney Mark Ralston quoted in NBCDFW.com news story |
American Airlines Begins Contract Talks With Pilots
|October 3, 2012 11:59 pm|
American Airlines and its pilots union are back at the bargaining table for the first time since a bankruptcy judge threw out the pilots' old contract.
Negotiators resumed talks at the company conference center near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
American spokesman Bruce Hicks said the company is delaying, for the month of October, pilot pay cuts already allowed by the court.
"It's a sign of good faith," Hicks said. "We want an agreement. We're trying to create the best environment to be able to reach an agreement that will reach everybody's needs."
The Allied Pilots Association agreed to the talks after the two sides accused the other of causing a recent rash of flight delays.
Bankruptcy Attorney Mark Ralston said federal labor laws designed to protect the US transportation system require the two sides to conduct far more talks, even if union members did vote to authorize a strike.
"It requires the parties to go through a cooling off period before there can be an actual strike. So although the vote would be necessary for the pilots to strike in the future, it's not eminent," he said.
Ralston said bankruptcy laws could also restrict the union's ability to legally conduct a work stoppage.
At the same time the company is likely receiving pressure from creditors to settle with the pilots.
"What's going on is certainly cutting into American's bottom line. The creditors are going to want it resolved because it's costing them value," Ralston said.
© 2012 NBCUniversal, Inc.
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